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Jennifer Swift

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-5841
Office: AHF B57D

Curriculum Vitae
Faculty Profile on Departmental Website
Personal Website
Spatial Sciences Institute at USC
GIST Programs at USC

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Jennifer Swift is an Associate Professor (teaching) of Spatial Sciences and Director of Graduate Studies in the Geographic Information Science & Technology (GIST) Programs, in the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. In addition, she is the Program Director of the USC SSI Esri Development Center (EDC). She is directly involved with teaching graduate classes in the GIST program in the Spatial Science Institute, and in overseeing graduate research projects being conducted within the within the GIST M.S. program. Dr. Swift also teaches residential undergraduate classes in the new USC SSI B.S. GeoDesign Program. Prior to this, from 2001 to 2009 she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California. From 2000 to 2001 she was a Research Associate or postdoc within the same department. Her early academic career was as an Assistant Professor (1996-1999) in Earthquake Engineering at Bogaziçi University, in Istanbul, Turkey. Dr. Swift’s current research is focused on GIS tool development, in particular web-based and mobile applications as well as desktop, web portal development, data modeling, spatial analysis in a variety of fields, and earthquake vulnerability modeling. Recently she has been conducting research related to innovations in online teaching methodologies, in regards to technology as well as pedagogy. Most of the projects she has been involved in throughout her career thus far have been collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature, ranging from subjects related to the spatial aspects of environmental engineering, to health-related challenges facing us today.


Ph.D. Geophysics, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1995
M.S. Geology, University of Northern Illinois, Illinois, 1989
B.S. Geochemistry, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1984

Postdoctoral Training

Research Associate, University of Southern California, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2000-2001  

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Associate Professor (Teaching), University of Southern California, Spatial Sciences Institute, 06/06/2013-05/15/2014  
Assistant Professor (Teaching), University of Southern California, Department of Geography, 2009-2010  
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 2001-2009  
Assistant Professor, Department of Earthquake Engineering, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, Bogaziçi University, 1996-1999  

PostDoctoral Appointments

Research Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 2000-2001  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

My research involves collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects that focus on GIS web, mobile and desktop tool development, social media impact analysis and modeling, teaching, spatial analysis, and various types of data modeling. The most recent work concentrates on four areas: GIS Web Tool Development: The development of (1) web-based spatial decision support tools for i.e. social media risk awareness, evaluating recreational open space, determining watershed health, and biological cataloging and conservation; (2) information architectures for internal enterprise and external dissemination of spatial data such as engineering data; (3) web-based map services for online VGI data gathering tools, digital libraries and archives; and (4) comparison and utilization of cloud-based versus local server architectures. Teaching: Development of (1) innovations in online and residential blended classroom and field teaching methodologies, in regards to technology as well as pedagogy; and (2) measuring the impact of the web and mobile devices on undergraduates and graduate students and how this affects how we teach spatial thinking across disciplines. Spatial Analysis: Assessments of the spatio-temporal earthquake vulnerability and risk in the Los Angeles area, and natural and human-caused threats in southern California; and recharge suitability analyses in southern California. Data Modeling: Development of archeological geodatabases; Participation in development of US-British geotechnical and geophysical data dictionaries and XML Schemas; and development of centrifuge data dictionary and model and supporting schema-handling programming.

Research Keywords

GIS, Geographic Information Science, Teaching, Portal, Cloud, Spatial, IT, Information Technology, Web, Mobile, Internet, Data, Modeling, Database, Earthquake, Vulnerability

Research Specialties

GIS Web Tool Development • GIS Mobile Application Development • Innovative Online & Blended Learning Teaching Methodlogies • Data Portal Advancement • GIS Desktop Customization • Spatial Analysis • Database Design • Data Modeling / Metadata • Earthquake Vulnerability / Risk Assessment

Funded Research

Contracts and Grants Awarded

Development of a management system and geographic interface for biological resource data (Dept Defense Natural Resource Legacy Grant Program), Travis Loncore, $100,000, 2010-2011   
RUASI Risk Gap Analysis (MLC & Associates, Costa Mesa CA), John P. Wislon, $40,000, 2009-2010   
Development and Testing of Geocoding Services for the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (Northrop Grumman & Centers Disease Control Prevent), John Wislon, Jennifer Swift, $130,000, 2008-2009  
Modification of the COSMOS-PEER LL Pilot GVDC System Architecture and Implementation, Task 2L03 (COSMOS and PEER Program of Applied Earthquake Eng.), Jennifer Swift, $25,650, 2005-2008  
Upper Los Angeles River: Recharge Suitability Analysis (Mountains Restoration Trust), John Wislon, $80,000, 2006-2007  
Phase III of Green Visions Plan for 21st Century Southern California, a non-regulatory habitat cons (Wildlife Conservation Agency), Jennifer Wolch, John Wislon, Travis Loncore and Jennifer Swift, $397,800, 2006-2007   
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Supplement to NSF HSD Award (National Science Foundation), John Wilson, Jennifer Swift, $6,000, 2006-2007   

USC Funding

2011-2012 NTT Faculty Development Grant. USC GIST Courses and Program Development: Support for faculty course and program development., $1,500, 06/23/2011-06/23/2012  
University of Southern California WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering). Establishing a National Geotechnical and Geophysical Virtual Data Center at USC: Major Support for Faculty, $15,000, 2006-2009  
USC Undergraduate Research Associates Program (URAP). Characterization of Traffic Proximity to Children and Associated Environmental Justice Socioeconomics: Summer 2009, $6,000, 2008-2009   
Undergraduate Research Funds (SURF) . Socio-economic Disparities in Health Costs of School Proximity to Major Transportation Networks: USC Office of the College Dean, Summer 2009, $6,000, 2008-2009   
USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Southern California Soil Mapping and Soil Data Utilization in the USC GIS Research Laboratory: Southern California Soil Mapping and Soil Data Utilization in the USC GIS Research Laboratory, $3,000, 2007-2008   
USC Undergraduate Research Program, Summer 2007. Collaborative Project: Development of a Web-Based Hydrologic Information System: Collaborative Project: Development of a Web-Based Hydrologic Information System, $6,000, 2007-2008   

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

USC Spatial Sciences Institute Esri Development Center (EDC), Program Director,
USC’s Graduate Programs in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST), Associate Professor,

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"Modeling Coffee-Berry-Borer (CBB) Establishment and Spread in Hawaii with Python (with Flora Paganelli* and Karen Kemp)", 2013 Esri User Conference, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract,, USC Spatial Sciences Institute, 07/10/2013  
"ArcGIS Server Hosted on Local Virtual Machines vs Cloud (EC2) (with Flora Paganelli)", 2013 Esri Education User Conference, San Diego CA, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract,, Sponsor: Spatial Science Institute, 07/09/2013  
"The Impact of Web and Mobile GIS on How We Teach", American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract,, USC Spatial Sciences Institute, 04/13/2013  
"Models of Online Learning: What's Old, What's New?", American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Roundtable/Panel,, Geography Education Specialty Group, and USC Spati, Invited, 04/12/2013  
"GIS and Spatial Thinking Across Disciplines", USC Faculty Forum: Spatial Thinking and GIS Mapping Technologies Across Disciplines, Talk/Oral Presentation,, USC Center for Scholarly Technology, Invited, 11/16/2012  
"At the Forefront: GIST Graduate Programs Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) @ USC", Los Angeles County GIS Day, Talk/Oral Presentation,, Spatial Sciences Institute, 11/14/2012  
"USC Beta Tests Esri’s ArcGIS Server "Campus Edition" Online Courses", 2012 Esri Education User Conference, San Diego CA, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract,, USC Spatial Sciences Institute, 07/21/2012-07/26/2012  
"GIS Education Programs Panel", Second Annual Los Angeles Geospatial Summit 2012, Roundtable/Panel,, USC Spatial Sciences Institute, Invited, 04/30/2012  
"Pedagogical Challenges Adapting Graduate Geography Courses to Online Curriculums", American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, 2012, New York, NY, Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract,, USC: GIST Faculty Professional Development Grant, 02/25/2012  
"Proximity Analysis Web Map Viewer (& Live Online Demo)", Burden of Disease, Talk/Oral Presentation, USC, Los Angeles, at HSC, October 17-18, 2011, South Coast Air Quality Management District , Invited, 10/17/2011  
"Advanced Technologies in the Virtual Classroom - University of Southern California Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) Graduate Program", CUNY 9th Annual IT Conference 2010, Talk/Oral Presentation, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, Citrix Systems, Inc., Invited, 12/03/2010  
"Desktop Management Simplified With Desktop Virtualization – USC GIST Graduate Program. ", Texas Community College Technology Forum 2010, Talk/Oral Presentation, Collin College, Plano, TX, Citrix Systems, Inc., Invited, 11/05/2010  
"Mapping the Health Risks of NOx Traffic Emissions for Schools in Los Angeles County", Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Poster, Abstract, San Diego, California, USC, 2008-2009   
"Green Visions Digital Soil Map", Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Poster, Abstract, Long Beach, California, USC, 2007-2008   

Other Presentations

"USC GIST Graduate Programs’ Course and Technology Demo", USC GIST Webinar: Daniel Warshawsky and Jennifer Swift, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 07/31/2013  
"Meet the Faculty - New Track Focus", USC GIST Webinar: Darren Ruddell, Karen Kemp, Jennifer Swift and Darlene Lakes, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 06/05/2013  
"Creating An Outstanding Resume - A Guide for GIST Graduates.", USC GIST Webinar: J O'Connor, R MacNab, J Swift, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 10/23/2012  
"Introduction to USC Career Services & What We Do - Helping GIST Graduates Find Jobs & Internships", USC GIST Webinar: D Johnson, J Swift, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 10/02/2012  
"Using Los Angeles Regional Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LAR-IAC) Data in GIST Courses and MS Thesis Research", USC GIST Webinar: D Peck, J Swift, USC-Embanet-Compass ,, 07/10/2012  
"Introducing Los Angeles Regional Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LAR-IAC) Data", USC GIST Webinar: M Greninger, D Goldberg and J Swift, USC-Embanet-Compass ,, 03/22/2012  
"Required Courses: A Closer Look at USC GIST Programs’ Required Courses.", USC GIST Webinar: Q&A Session - J Swift, K Kemp, D Ruddell, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 09/27/2011  
"Meet the Faculty of the GIST Programs", USC-GIST Webinar: Meet the Faculty of the GIST Programs - J Swift, J Hastings, D Ruddell, USC-Embanet-Compass,, 08/23/2011  
"USC Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) Online Graduate Programs ", Geospatial Jobs and the 2010 Economy - Thursday, January 21, 2010 , Directions Magazine, Directions Magazine Online Webinar:, 2009-2010   


Journal Article

Weidemann, C., Swift, J. N. (2013). Social Media Location Intelligence: The next Privacy Battle – An ArcGIS add-in and Analysis of Geospatial Data Collected from International Journal of Geoinformatics. Vol. 9 (2), pp. 21-27.
Swift, J. N., Le, T. N., Wilson, J. P. (2012). Estimated Temporal Variation of Losses Due to a Recurrence of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. Earthquake Spectra. Vol. 28 (1), pp. 347-365. EERI

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Interactive Online Mapping Application, Mapping neighborhood scale traffic emissions in Southern California. Developed pilot proximity analysis web map viewer, using Esri ArcGIS Server and Flex., 2011-2012   

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director of Graduate Studies, 05/16/2013-05/15/2014  
Director of Graduate Studies, 05/16/2012-05/15/2013  
Director of Graduate Studies, 05/16/2011-05/15/2012  


Member, Spatial Sciences Institute Executive Committee. Consists of the directors of SSI, the GIST Programs, the Undergraduate Degree Program, and the SSI Research team., 2013  
Member, USC GeoDesign Undergraduate Committee, 2011-2013  
Chair, USC Spatial Sciences Institute Server & IT Working Group, 2011-2013  
Member, University of Southern California Task Force on Graduate Education, 2005-2006   

Other Service to the University

Program Director, Esri Development Center (EDC), USC Spatial Sciences Institute:, 2012-2013  

Service to the Profession


Member, University of Southern California Task Force on Graduate Education., 2005-2006   

Professional Memberships

American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE), 2005-2013  
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2004-2013  
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), 2003-2013  
Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG), 2001-2013  
Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS), 2001-2013  
Association of American Geographers (AAG), 01/10/2012-01/10/2013  
Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Consortium, Inc., 2003-2010  
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